CA's strength highlighted at AGM | Cricket Australia

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CA's strength highlighted at AGM

October 30, 2014

Australian cricket in position of strength
Australian cricket in position of strength

Heading into the biggest season on record Australian cricket has never been in better heath, Cricket Australia’s (CA) Annual General Meeting was told today.

Some spectacular on field success has combined with record crowds, television ratings, participation and revenue to highlight the game’s strong position ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 in Australia and New Zealand early next year.

Revenue of almost $300 million is expected to grow to $360 million by the end of this season, allowing more money than ever to be ploughed back into the game at its many levels.

Over Cricket Australia’s four-year reporting cycle that spans from 2013-14 to 2016-17, revenue will climb to a projected $1.22 billion, up from $736 million in the previous four-year period. Cricket revenue is recorded over four year periods due to the sometimes significant annual fluctuations in income depending upon the respective teams touring Australia.

With cricket participation cracking the one million mark for the first time last season, CA is confident the extra investment and support it is committing at community level will drive further increases beyond the current 1.1 million.

CA will invest $30 million into key strategic projects, including several grassroots programs around the country. This included the $4 million funding package announced in June to deliver additional resources for the grassroots of the game throughout Queensland.

Elsewhere, funding is supporting joint NSW and ACT cricket development work in and around the ACT and southern NSW.

It also allowed CA to enter into an historic partnership with Indigenous education academy, the Clontarf Foundation, to help improve the wellbeing of young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men around the country.

Speaking after the AGM in Melbourne today, CA CEO James Sutherland highlighted how cricket has never been more popular in Australia.

“From a fan point of view, last summer’s 5-0 Ashes whitewash, a world-record crowd of 91,112 at the MCG on Boxing Day, 1.7 million people through the turnstiles to watch cricket over summer and huge average national TV audiences, are measures which all show the Australian public loves cricket,” Sutherland said.

International cricket attracted average national television audiences of 1.75 million viewers last summer while the KFC T20 Big Bash League drew audiences of more than 900,000 people per game.

“The third season of the Big Bash showed that the competition continued to bring new fans into the game, particularly females and children. One in five of the more than 650,000 attendees were at their first cricket game and 24 per cent were kids, compared to Test cricket crowds where nine per cent are children.”

With the ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 being played in Australia and New Zealand for just the second time and the first time in more than 20 years, Sutherland is confident the game’s most popular tournament will lift the profile and penetration of cricket even further.

“I am confident the February-March World Cup, culminating in the 29 March final at the MCG, will be a far bigger event than most Australians expect,” Sutherland said.

“Importantly, it will not only offer our players a chance to try to win an unprecedented fifth World Cup, it will also showcase our ability to co-host a major world-class event in front of a global TV audience of one billion fans.”

The fastest growing area of cricket is the number of girls and women now playing the game.

“Off field, we were very pleased with the massive 16 per cent increase, to a total of 1,105,709, in the number of Australians of all backgrounds playing cricket,” Sutherland said.

“Females made up 22 per cent of those players, compared to 10 per cent just over a decade ago. The significant increase in female participation (up 39 per cent last year), is a terrific endorsement of the opportunities that cricket is creating for females to be involved in the game.”

Meanwhile, in recognising the outstanding performances of the world champion Commonwealth Bank Southern Stars, Cricket Australia continues to increase the remuneration and support for cricket’s best female athletes.

“Both our men’s and women’s teams play a huge role in inspiring the next generation of fans and participants. Playing numbers at these levels serve to highlight the significant contribution cricket is making toward active healthy lifestyles within our communities,” Sutherland said.